Overview of one of the stages of the "Route 91. Harvest" music festival in Las Vegas, USA, on September 30, 2017. Automatic rifle blasts at the festival sparked panic in the early hours of October 2 2017. EFE / Bill Hughes / Las Vegas News Bureau
More than 50 people were killed and 400 wounded as a result of a massive shooting at a Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the hands of a man who opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel.
Panic and fear seized an audience of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Music Festival, one of the best-known country music festivals, when a song by Jason Aldean (who was on stage at the time) was interrupted by bursts of bullets from the balcony of a room of the Madalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, during the night of Sunday.
According to testimony of the attendees, the bursts did not stop and everyone had to run to find shelter, raiding handrails and bloodsoaked bodies.
Las Vegas Police Department said authorities responded immediately, intervening in the 32-story hotel room where the suspect - later identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock - lay on the ground after taking his own life. Police found "at least 10 semi-automatic weapons" in the room, which had been registered in Paddock's name since Sept. 28, The Guardian reported.
Paddock was a resident of Mesquite, a small town in Nevada. He had no criminal record and was unknown to have any political or religious affiliations that could determine the motives behind his violent attack. Also, the police determined that the author had worked as an accountant and possessed a license to hunt and pilot's permit.
Authorities continued to search Paddock's house as they found the whereabouts of his sentimental partner identified as Marilou Danley, who was out of the country.
President Trump spoke to the country offering his "warmest condolences" to the victims of the attack through his Twitter account, and later communicated through a live speech on Monday morning assuring that “Melania and I are praying for every American who has been hurt, wounded or lost the ones they loved so dearly in this terrible, terrible attack”, he said.
“We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace, and we pray for the day when evil is banished and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear”, the president said.
“In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one. And it always has. We call upon the bonds that unite us: our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity. Our unity cannot be shattered by evil. Our bonds cannot be broken by violence. And though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today, and always will forever.”
The president also reported that he would travel to Las Vegas. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed this, assuring as well that the President would travel to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, according to CNN En Español.
The international community, for its part, expressed its sympathy and condolences with the American people after the fatal slaughter. British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson condemned the act of "indiscriminate violence" and said he was "appalled" by the attack. “I am horrified by the awful attack at a music festival in Las Vegas this morning. The United Kingdom stands with the American people against this indiscriminate violence. My thoughts are with all those caught up in it,”
He said in a note released by the Foreign Office.
Mexican President Juan Manuel Santos also issued his "most sincere condolences" for the shooting, expressing "in the name of Colombia, our deepest condolences to the United States after shooting in Las Vegas. We are with you".